SEA Eagles hard man Anthony Watmough has revealed the driving force behind his new disciplined approach to football and life - a 10-month-old Siberian Husky called Misty.
Anthony Watmough and his dog Misty. Photo: Simon Cocksedge.
The man they call Choc has been spending more time on the leash with Misty than off it, avoiding local watering holes that have led him astray in the past.
“We go for a walk every morning down to Dee Why and have a coffee,” Watmough said.
“It gives you another reason to stay home rather than go out and have a cold beer.”
Watmough said his partner Elle and daughter Claudia had planned to pick up a King Charles puppy from a store in Chatswood.
“But as soon as I walked in and saw the Husky I knew I had to get it,” he said. “Claudia has grown pretty fond of her and my missus just loves her.”
The newest addition to the Watmough family made her first public appearance during the Sea Eagles media day at Brookvale Oval on Monday accompanied by 11-year-old Claudia.
The special bond that has formed between the bruising back-rower and Misty was obvious and showed Watmough’s another side.
“She doesn’t like dad too much because I am the one who has to discipline her,” he quipped.
“The missus and Claudia just sit back and enjoy the fun parts.”
Watmough has been keeping himself away from the spotlight, preferring to let his performances on the field do the talking.
“I just wanted to keep a bit of a low profile and stay out of trouble as best l could,” he said.
“There comes a point where you just have to wake up to yourself and realise that there are young guys in the team and you can’t lead them astray.”
“I don’t think I was leading them astray too much, but it was just the fact that if I stuffed up again it was unwanted pressure for them and they don’t need to see that,” Watmough said.
“Our young guys have played way beyond their years this year and if anything they have been mentoring me and keeping me grounded.”
Watmough laughed when asked if it was all about him growing up, saying whenever he said that he ended up on the front page.
“I’m just enjoying life now, everything is good,” he said.
But he shied away from saying he is in the best form of his career.
“I was still really critical of the way I played on the weekend but I’m getting there and I’m not far off,” he said.
“Hopefully I can just put in one more good performance on Sunday.”
ANTHONY WATMOUGH has credited his partner, Elle, and a new dog with the turnaround in his attitude on and off the field.
Watmough started the season offside with Sea Eagles officials, including coach Des Hasler, after losing his licence for driving 53 kilometres over the speed limit in February and then being stood down two months later for urinating on a Manly shopfront following a drinking session.
It is understood that the wayward forward was warned that he faced the sack if involved in another incident and since then Watmough has kept a low profile, refusing all media interviews.
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But he was happy to talk yesterday on the eve of his third grand final appearance in five years and revealed that a more settled life off the field had led to him being more disciplined on it.
''It has been good, just relaxing with the family and missus and now the dog,'' said Watmough, who was accompanied to the Sea Eagles media day by his 11-year-old daughter Claudia and 10-month-old pet Siberian husky named Misty. ''It is something different. I have always sort of gone out and that, but I really enjoy going to bed early and getting up early and just living the quieter life.
''I go to bed pretty early these days. I am in bed by 9.30pm or 10pm every [day] but I am up at 6am with the dog barking and taking her for a walk. I am really enjoying that at the moment and hopefully I can stick to that.
''Life is really, really good at the moment. There is no issues, there is no dramas and everything is just easy. I have never really had a life where relationships were easy, they are tough work but Elle, my girl now, she is just so casual and so cruisy, and I think that is the way I like to live life now.
''There is just no dramas, no fights - it is just easy street for me now. When you don't have negative things around you and you just have good people that goes a long way to helping. I don't have to try to do anything special, everything we do is just appreciated so that is easy.''
As one of the senior players in the Sea Eagles team, 28-year-old Watmough said he would speak to star rookies Daly Cherry-Evans, Keiran Foran and Will Hopoate about what to expect in grand final week but he was reluctant to give them advice off the field.
''I am just more along the lines of have fun with what you do but there are always people watching and that is one thing - I didn't really care that there were people watching,'' Watmough said. ''I just enjoyed having fun with my mates and I know I wasn't hurting anyone or doing anything wrong but I attracted too much heat for having fun.
''I enjoyed myself … But there is a certain amount of fun you can have without getting into trouble, it is a fine line and I just tell them to be careful.''
There have been suggestions that his off-field misdemeanours may cost him a place in the Australian team for the upcoming Four Nations tournament, but a philosophical Watmough said he was unconcerned for the moment.
''I'm not worrying about that yet, I am just worrying about this week and if my footy is going good then that will all take care of itself,'' he said.
Brad Walter smh.com.au
MANY have tried to tame Anthony Watmough. Some have succeeded, others failed.
So for guaranteed success, why not turn to man's best friend.
Anthony Watmough yesterday revealed how a Siberian Husky called Misty had helped him settle down from a once turbulent lifestyle.
He even said Misty was helping him stay out of Manly's notorious pubs.
Misty was at Brookvale Oval yesterday, running riot during a media day as Watmough's daughter, 11-year-old Claudia, doted on the puppy.
Watmough bought the pooch at Chatswood - and a special bond was born. Each day Watmough, his partner Elle and Misty wander down to Dee Why for a coffee.
"It's good to get out for a walk and gives you another reason to stay at home rather than go out and have a cold beer," Watmough said. "There comes a time when you have to wake up to yourself and realise there are young guys in the team and you can't lead them astray.
"I wasn't leading them astray too much but it was more the fact that if I stuffed up, it was unwarranted pressure on them. They don't need to see that.
"I just want to take a back seat and try and enjoy my footy. You can still play good footy and not get in trouble."
Asked if he had grown up, Watmough said: "Every time I say that I'll go for a drink and end up on the front page.
"I am just enjoying life right now. Everything is good."
And that's where Misty comes in.
"My daughter and missus said they were going to pick up a King Charles but as soon as I walked in and saw the husky, I thought I had to get her," he said. "It's my first dog. Claudia has grown fond of her and the missus loves her. It is good that she is there for them when I am away and they can have someone to hang with."
Watmough will prove a huge advantage for Manly on Sunday.
A big-game player with big-match experience, Watmough is poised for a dominating performance in the NRL grand final.
The NSW back-rower said Manly may have an edge when it comes to grand final experience.
"More so this week with the media and all the commitments. It's a big week and it is very draining," he said.
"One of the good things about our team is that we have some boys that have done it all before. We will be able to guide the young guys. Unfortunately for the Warriors, they don't have many guys that have done it before.
"It could take a bit out of them but they're a professional outfit and I am sure they know what they're doing."
Watmough stressed the importance of not using up excessive nervous energy too early in grand final week.
"That was probably the biggest part of the grand final in 2007," Watmough said. "The club has been good and have a few things planned for us to get away and keep everyone grounded.
"Things like getting together as boys, talk to the young blokes and get away from it as much as we can, whether it's lunch or a recovery down at the beach."
Asked who the crowd would support on Sunday, Watmough said: "I hope Manly. (But) Manly is full of Kiwis so they are definitely going to have a strong contingent out there. At the end of the day, everyone is pretty nice to our players when they see us."